Sep 8, 2009

Death by Precipitation

Written by Patricia Lockwood

Read by Corrie Williamson

I.

The wind throws bones
before she rises: the boiled,
the worried, the whistle-clean
and twisted, she asks them

what is happening to her.
“A storm is coming,” old men
say, reduced to aching bridle joints
that go, and go, and nowhere.

Dogs roll over like spadefuls
of dirt and wait for the sky
to weigh on them. Fresh
kills and former lakes
come down. It has rained

stranger things: strays
and swallows, bellmetal
and open doors, red meat torn
from hinges and raised off

like roofs. Eyefuls of anything
pour down and solve the ground
till bladefuls of grave roll over.

II.

It happens the same way
every year: the cliff is a pale
uprising, a man is marked
and eases down the air,

streaming behind a hitch
in the throat, streaming behind
the bridling hair, unsolving
as he falls and falling still

past deep drifts of unbury.
Each year he lands and drowns
an acre of yield. Say the word

died this way, his side
still pouring oxbow and meander;
say he was buried by rising
gorge and red dogs tracked

his old-rose in and out;
and say there was no cave.
Say that rimstone and relief
do not exist, that air bells
are not ringing, that pitch and parts

per million are impossible.
Say there is no rill or shall,
say a hum is not a hill, say
he did not find a well
to give back his bucket-eyed head.

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